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UC San Diego, Spanos Athletic Performance Center

This new strength training center was conceived to provide support for several of UC San Diego’s sports programs anticipated move up to Division One competition level. The project site is located at the very northern edge of the UC San Diego campus overlooking Track and Field facilities and adjacent to an existing facility built originally as the Charger’s training center. The NFL team’s owner, Alex Spanos donated the original facility to the University in the 1990’s and contributed greatly to funding this new athletic performance center which bears his name. Designed as an extension to the original facility, the new design creates shared courtyard as a link between new and existing. The Triton athletics department was seeking to provide a strong identity for the facility to inspire school pride and build confidence in their student athletes. The new building uses bold forms, colorful graphic elements, lighting accents and Triton branding to enliven and attract attention to this simple structure. Tilt-up panel construction was selected for its durability, visual strength and economy. Manipulating the shape, texture and relief of the individual concrete panels allowed this ordinary construction type to transform from mundane to sophisticated. Repetitive panel shapes strengthen the overall form and ease of constructability. Gaps between the panels are filled with glazing to provide plenty of daylight inside. The interior of the structure is dominated by the weight training equipment giving the facility an industrial character which is appropriate for the building’s shell. Daylight is controlled with the bright yellow perforated metal exterior sunshades and a deep south-facing overhang. Skylights sized to fit within the panelized roof structural system provide diffused light to the center of the building. Overhead sectional glass doors open the space to the new courtyard and in conjunction with the operable glazing system, provides natural ventilation throughout the interior. Linear infrared heaters warm the space on cool mornings and roof mounted exhaust fans extract hot air when no sea breeze is available. Functionally, the athletic complex provides a linear path for training. Entering the new building from the north, the athlete enters a warm-up stretching area which is followed by a workout on the various strength training equipment. Moving south to the courtyard for a cardio workout on orderly rows of erg machines and finally moving inside the renovated existing building for performance testing and physical therapy. This LEED Gold facility features an integrated strategy for sustainability with its: proximity to campus and community transportation system; storm water bio-swale filtration; low water use plumbing fixtures; drip irrigation; high performance mechanical equipment connected to centralized campus control system for energy optimization; LED lighting throughout; construction waste recycling; use of aluminum and steel with recycled content; natural ventilation; controlled daylighting derived through computer modeling and enhanced views to the exterior.  
Main banner image for UC San Diego, Spanos Athletic Performance Center

Project Location

San Diego, CA
United States


The Tilt-Up Achievement Awards were established to honor projects that use site-cast tilt-up concrete to introduce new building types, advance industry technology and provide unique solutions to building programs. Winning entries illustrate the variety, beauty, and flexibility of tilt-up construction.



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Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
Darren Bradley

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Sports / Recreation
Building Types:
Training Facility
Concrete (Raw/Sealed)
Angled Panels (Elevation-Edge/Shape)
Angled Panels (Plan-Orientation/Position)
Cantilevered Panels
Post Applied (Interior)
LEED Certified
LEED Certified - Gold
Number of Floors:
Number of Panels:
21 panels
Tilt-Up Wall Area:
6,250 sq ft (581 sq m)
Total Floor Area:
6,740 sq ft (626 sq m)
Project Footprint:
6,740 sq ft (626 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
24 ft 6 in (7.47 m)
Largest Panel:
368 sq ft (34.2 sq m)
Tallest Cantilever:
10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)